Manchester is not all about football…

… in fact, there is a lotĀ more to this city than 11 guys, but it can be difficult to find the nice spots. Well, I have been living here for almost three years now – time to share some of my favourite places with you!

I usually take my guests on a strollĀ along the Rochdale canal, from Oxford Road to Castlefield. Passing the weirs and walking underneath dusty bridges, past Rain bar which used to be an umbrella factory, you get to see Manchester from a different side; see the picture above. Castlefield, an old industrial area, with its bridges and canals is worth exploring – try and find the remains of the old Roman fort that gave the area its name!

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), only a stone’s throw from Castlefield, is a great place to spend a whole afternoon at. Spread out over several buildings, this museum keeps hosts a vast collection of displays and machines related to science and engineering, including a fascinating collection of steam engines – all working! – as well as a Victorian sewer (with real-life sewer smells, yuck!), an aircraft hangar and a replica of the Baby, the world’s first stored-program computer which was built in Manchester. Best of all, as with most museums and galleries in Manchester, admission is free.

The Manchester Museum is conveniently located just across the road from the School of Computer Science. When I was studying for my MSc, I used to have a wander around the museum quite regularly in my lunch breaks. The museum is packed with archeological exhibits and a huge collection of stuffed animals, as well as some life reptiles.

One of my favourite cafes in Manchester is Oklahoma, just off High Street near the Arndale Centre. Oklahoma is part cafe, part shop that stocks the craziest gifts, toys, household items, and general bric-a-brac. They also do yummy food with plenty of vegetarian options, as well as delicious cakes. Nexus Art Cafe is another nice cafe nearby, which is a great place to go for a bit of reading if the library cabin fever has hit you.

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do in the evening, try one of the many theatres in Manchester. I have seen quite a few plays in Manchester in the past year, some where fantastic (my favourite was Oscar Wilde’s comedy ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ at the Library Theatre), others were, well, quite okay – but for me, a trip to the theatre is always fascinating, a nice change from the cinema, and, with offers for cheap or even free tickets for students, doesn’t hurt the wallet.

Phew. That should be enough for now – I’ll report back from my academic adventures in the next post!